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September 06, 2017
DHS publishes policy on civil penalties for CFATS violation

The U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a policy document and factsheet on its Infrastructure Security Compliance Division’s (ISCD) process for assessing civil penalties and cease operations orders under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. The ISCD has authority to issue administrative orders and to assess civil penalties for violation of CFATS requirements, but this is the first time that the DHS has made available a policy document outlining the penalty process.

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The 10-page policy document discusses the deficiencies in facility CFATS programs that can lead to an administrative order, civil penalty assessment, and/or a desist order. It also outlines the method used by ISCD to assess a civil penalty and summarizes the process for negotiating reductions in assessed penalties.

Specifically, the policy document spells out three situations where the policy is likely to apply:

  • Violations of requirements to file a Top Screen analysis, a Security Vulnerability Assessment, or a Site Security Plan (SSP);
  • Deficiencies in a facility’s SSP or Alternative Security Program; and
  • Violations of Chemical-terrorism Vulnerability Information requirements.

According to the factsheet, “A facility that fails to comply with CFATS may be issued an Administrative Order or a warning letter … notifying the facility of a potential violation of CFATS and providing a time period by which the facility must come into compliance.” The policy document includes a schedule of penalty ranges for infractions categorized as minor, moderate or major. As a ceiling, the maximum civil penalty that the DHS may assess is $33,333 per day.

To download a copy of the policy document and factsheet, go here.

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